Monday, June 30, 2014

Maybe No One Will Notice...

The new fiscal year in Maryland starts on Tuesday, and that means gasoline prices are going up slightly, due to an increase in gasoline taxes, that were approved by the legislature last year.

Under the legislation, gas taxes would increase both based on the inflation rate, and on a foru year effort to phase in the state's six-percent sales tax on gasoline.

Part of that phase-in took effect on July 1, of last year, when the gas tax increased 3.5-cents-a gallon.

On Tuesday, the tax will go up by 4-tenths-of-a-cent per gallon, then the tax goes up about 8-cents a gallon in July of next year and July of 2016.

Harford County Schools

Thursday, June 26, 2014

America is Now Reaping the Fruits of Obamanomics

It's George Bush's Fault!

Free Speech Victory in SCOTUS

from the Maryland Daily Record
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a 35-foot protest-free zone outside abortion clinics in Massachusetts.

The justices were unanimous in ruling that extending a buffer zone that far from clinic entrances violates the First Amendment rights of protesters.

Chief Justice John Roberts said authorities have less intrusive ways to deal with problems outside clinics and noted that most of the problems reported by police and the clinics occurred outside one Planned Parenthood facility in Boston, and only on Saturdays when the largest crowds typically gather.

“For a problem shown to arise only once a week in one city at one clinic, creating 35-foot buffer zones at every clinic across the Commonwealth is hardly a narrowly tailored solution,” Roberts said.

While the court was unanimous in the overall outcome, Roberts joined with the four liberal justices to strike down the buffer zone on narrower grounds than the other more conservative justices wanted. In a separate opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia criticized Roberts’ opinion for carrying forward “this court’s practice of giving abortion-rights advocates a pass when it comes to suppressing the free-speech rights of their opponents.”

Scalia said state and local governments around the country would continue to be able to “restrict antiabortion speech without fear of rigorous constitutional review.”

Still, abortion rights advocates lamented the decision and said it compromised the safety of women seeking abortions.

“This decision shows a troubling level of disregard for American women, who should be able to make carefully considered, private medical decisions without running a gantlet of harassing and threatening protesters,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Mark Rienzi, who represented the protesters at the Supreme Court, said, “The government cannot reserve its public sidewalks for Planned Parenthood, as if their message is the only one women should be allowed to hear. Today’s decision confirms that the First Amendment is for everyone, and that the government cannot silence peaceful speakers.”

In another important decision, the justices also ruled Thursday that temporary, recess appointments made by President Barack Obama to the National Labor Relations Board in 2012 were illegal because the Senate was not, in fact, in recess when Obama acted. In that case as well, the court was unanimous about the outcome but divided over the reasoning.

The justices will meet one last time on Monday to hand down decisions in cases involving the Obama health law requirement that employers cover women’s contraception in their employee health plans and the ability of unions representing government employees to collect fees from workers who don’t wish to join the union..

The buffer zone case began when Boston-area grandmother Eleanor McCullen and other abortion opponents sued over the limits on their activities at Planned Parenthood health centers in Boston, Springfield and Worcester. At the latter two sites, the protesters say they have little chance of reaching patients arriving by car because they must stay 35 feet not from the clinic entrances, but from the driveway to those buildings’ parking lots. Patients enter the building through the parking lots, which are private property.

Planned Parenthood provides health exams for women, cancer screenings, tests for sexually transmitted diseases, birth control and abortions at its clinics.

The organization said that the buffer zone has significantly reduced the harassment of patients and clinic employees. Before the 35-foot zone went into effect in 2007, protesters could stand next to the entrances and force patients to squeeze by, Planned Parenthood said.

Before 2007, a floating buffer zone kept protesters from approaching unwilling listeners any closer than 6 feet if they were within 18 feet of the clinic. The floating zone was modeled after a Colorado law that the Supreme Court has upheld. That decision was not called into question in Thursday’s ruling.

Clinic officials said they are most concerned about safety because of past incidents of violence. In 1994, a gunman killed two receptionists and wounded five employees and volunteers at a Planned Parenthood facility and another abortion clinic in nearby Brookline. The most recent killing was in 2009, when Dr. George Tiller, who performed abortions, was shot in a church in Wichita, Kansas.

Abortion protesters said that other state and federal laws already protect health center workers and patients, as well as access to clinics.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Low Turnout... Yawn!

from the Baltimore Sun
Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown may have claimed victory in a landslide win over his competitors for the Democratic nomination for governor, but turnout Tuesday was one of the lowest in decades.

Just 20.5 percent of voters cast ballots in the primary. Although provisional and absentee ballots must still be tallied, the turnout “could be a historical low,” said John T. Willis, executive in residence at University of Baltimore’s School of Public and International Affairs and an author of books about Maryland elections and politics.

Turnout in the 2012 primary was about 19 percent, including all provisional and absentee ballots. About 25 percent of voters came out in the last gubernatorial election in 2010.

The state’s high-water mark for primary election turnout was in 1982 when about 45 percent of voters participated. The year 2008 – when President Barack Obama was elected – turnout also was high with nearly 43 percent of voters participating.

Voters, election volunteers and political observers all were expecting Tuesday’s turnout to be among the state’s lowest, judging by the empty polling places yesterday.

Monica Bias of Severna Park called the turnout at the Earleigh Heights Volunteer Company “pathetic” when she voted just before 7 p.m.

A 58-year-old state employee, Bias never missed a chance to vote. She declined to share her choices, preferring to keep her vote secret.

“I always vote. I never miss it. You can’t make a difference if you don’t vote,” she said Tuesday.
One advantage of light turnout was that Bias was able to cast her ballot quickly. “I’ve been here when the line went out the door and wrapped around and around,” she said.

Turnout for Democrats and Republicans was similar: 22.4 percent of Democrats participated in Tuesday’s contest compared to 21.8 percent of Republicans.

Brown beat out Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Del. Heather R. Mizeur for the Democratic nomination. In November’s general election, he will face Larry Hogan, who bested Harford County Executive David R. Craig.

Voters came out in slightly lower numbers in most parts of the Baltimore region than in the last gubernatorial primary in 2010.

Here’s a look at the numbers (including election day and early voting):

Anne Arundel County: 65,305 voters participated in Tuesday’s contest, down from 75,672 in 2010.
Baltimore: 69,634 voters cast ballots in Tuesday’s primary, up from 68,623 in 2010.
Baltimore County: 105,088 voters participated Tuesday, down from 122,552 in 2010.
Carroll County: 23,645 people voted Tuesday, down from 26,374 in 2010.
Harford County: 33,766 voters cast ballots on Tuesday, down from 38,418 in 2010.
Howard County: 38,914 participated on Tuesday, up from 37,824 in 2010.

Cochran... Since Democrats Selected Him, Should Republicans Now Vote for Him?

A lesson from the moralists. Never reward the traitor who unlocks the city gates to let the enemy army in, unless you want to be betrayed again by a similar act of treason in the future. Prediction - Republican turnout in the General Election will be half normal levels for an off-year election. Cochran has officially handed a safe Republican seat to the DNC.

AT least Travis Childers is a Blue Dog Democrat. May he represent his state well!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Maryland State House, Annapolis

from the Maryland State House Website
THE BEAUTIFUL MARYLAND STATE HOUSE is the oldest state capitol still in continuous legislative use and is the only state house ever to have served as the nation's capitol. The Continental Congress met in the Old Senate Chamber from November 26, 1783, to August 13, 1784. During that time, George Washington came before Congress to resign his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and the Treaty of Paris was ratified, marking the official end of the Revolutionary War.

The State House is where the Maryland General Assembly convenes for three months each year, and the elected leadership of the state — the governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the House of Delegates and president of the Senate — all have their offices there.

VOTE, Maryland!

Follow Harford County results at the State Website here or here beginning at around 8:30 this evening.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Early Voting Up in Maryland in 2014!

from The Daily Record
More voters took advantage of early voting this year than in two previous elections.

Statewide, 141,590 voters—a nearly 4.2 percent overall turnout—went to early voting centers to cast ballots. The raw numbers are percentages are the highest since the state expanded the number of early voting days in 2010.

This year, voters had 10 days to cast votes at an expanded number of voting centers in every jurisdiction. Previously, early voting consisted of just six days.

Over the first six days of early voting this year 90,223 voters—2.65 percent of the total eligible voters—cast ballots. That was more than the 77,728 and 76,124 voters that came out in the same period in 2010 and 2012 respectively. In both those years, overall turnout for those days was around 2.4 percent.

The overall trend of more Democrats than Republicans taking advantage of the expanded opportunity to cast a ballot continues. This year, more than 74 percent of the overall turnout were registered Democratic voters compared to 24 percent that were registered Republicans. Unaffiliated, minor party and independent voters who were only allowed to vote in non-partisan contests rounded out the total number of early voters.

Some of the largest turnouts in terms of raw numbers came from Maryland’s largest counties but some smaller counties saw their voters come out in larger percentages.

Five jurisdictions—Baltimore City (15,884) and Anne Arundel (14,935), Baltimore (22,285), Montgomery (18,871) and Prince George’s (21,959) Counties—accounted for about two of every three votes cast.

But the largest voter turnout by percentage came from three smaller counties. Talbot County reported that more than 10 percent of its 21,905 voters took advantage of the 10 extra voting days. Kent County, with its 10,645 voters, and Queen Anne’s County, with 32,820, reported voter turnouts of nearly 7.8 and 7.2 percent respectively.

Republicans in Talbot and Queen Anne’s Counties drove overall voter turnout.

Voters will have one more chance to cast their ballot in the Primary Election on June 24.
2014 Early Voting Details, by County and Party

2014 Absentee Voting Details

More 2014 Election Reports and Statistics

Friday, June 20, 2014

Maryland, Cradle of the New Neoliberal Cultural Capitalism

In April 2010, Maryland became the first U.S. state to pass benefit corporation legislation. As of January 2013 California, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia, and Washington had all passed legislation allowing for the creation of benefit corporations. Legislation is also pending in Illinois that establishes a new type of entity called the “benefit LLC,” making available to limited liability companies the same opportunities afforded to Illinois corporations under the state’s Benefit Corporation Law. Passage of the bill would make Illinois the first state to offer a social enterprise the opportunity to be a benefit L3C.

Maryland’s legislation was signed into law on April 13, 2010 and became effective on October 1, 2010

from The Economist
HE likes to do things differently. Yvon Chouinard changed his favourite sport, mountaineering, by introducing reusable pitons (the metal spikes you bang into the rock face and attach a rope to). Climbers often used to leave pitons in the cliff, which is environmentally messy, another of Mr Chouinard's peeves.

In business, Mr Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, an outdoor-clothing firm, says he believes that well-treated employees perform better. (He wrote a book called: “Let My People Go Surfing”.) Before it was fashionable, Mr Chouinard preached a philosophy of sustainability and long-term profitability that he calls “the slow company”.

On January 3rd Patagonia was anything but slow in becoming the first firm to take advantage of a new California law designed to give businesses greater freedom to pursue strategies which they believe benefit society as a whole rather than having to concentrate on maximising profits for the next financial quarter.

According to Mr Chouinard, the new “benefit corporation”—usually referred to as a B Corp—creates the legal framework for firms like his to remain true to their social goals. To qualify as a B Corp, a firm must have an explicit social or environmental mission, and a legally binding fiduciary responsibility to take into account the interests of workers, the community and the environment as well as its shareholders. It must also publish independently verified reports on its social and environmental impact alongside its financial results. Other than that, it can go about business as usual.

The B Corp is a deliberate effort to change the nature of business by changing corporate law, led by B Lab, a non-profit outfit based in Pennsylvania. California is the sixth state to allow B Corps; the first was Maryland, in April 2010. Patagonia was followed immediately by another 11 Californian firms, including Give Something Back Office Supplies, Green Retirement Plans and DopeHut, a clothing retailer. Across America, there are now several hundred B Corps. Before Patagonia, the best-known was probably Seventh Generation, a maker of green detergents, paper towels and other household products.

California's B Corp legislation took effect alongside a new law creating the “flexible purpose company” (FlexC), which allows a firm to adopt a specific social or environmental goal, rather than the broader obligations of a B Corp. Another option in America is the low-profit limited-liability (LC3) company, which can raise money for socially beneficial purposes while making little or no profit.

The idea of a legal framework for firms that put profits second is not confined to America. Britain, for example, has since 2005 allowed people to form “community interest companies”. Similar laws are brewing in several European countries.

The impetus for all this comes from people like Mr Chouinard, who believe that existing laws governing corporations and charities are too restrictive. For-profit firms, they argue, often face pressure to abandon social goals in favour of increasing profits. Non-profit firms and charities are needlessly restricted in their ability to raise capital when they need to grow.

This prevents socially minded organisations from pursuing their goals as efficiently as possible. Existing laws for co-operatives and mutual companies are inadequate. Hence the need for B Corps and other novel structures, goes the argument. There is no tax advantage to being a B Corp, but there is to some of the new legal structures.

Whether these new legal forms will change business that much remains to be seen. Supporters of existing corporate law say it does not prevent firms, if they so wish, from setting social and environmental goals or rigorously reporting on their performance in delivering them—and that pursuing profit is often the best way to benefit society. Nor is it clear how much difference in practice will be made by the obligation of a B Corp to weigh interests other than profits. How does one measure such things? What counts for more: a clean lake or a happy neighbour?

Mr Chouinard argues that making a firm's social mission explicit in its legal structure makes it harder for a new boss or owner to abandon it. Perhaps so. B Corps will be tested in the market. Anyone who feels inspired by a B Corp's mission is free to invest in its shares, or work for it.
An "ownership" society is fundamentally different from a corporate worker/ employee/ "proletariate" based society. Owning and renting involve two completely different sets of ethical responsibilities, with completely different "investment horizons". And creating a world filled with new "immortal" fictional corporate entities with unlimited liability protections and potentially unlimited offshore-based resources to draw upon is never going to benefit and/or privilege the small business owner-operator and or family farmer start-up trying to survive in a federally/legally streamlined globalised market. There are no market inefficiencies that would allow them to compete. Everyman must inevitably becomes a corporate wage slave who couldn't make an independent decision for which he alone bore responsibility if his very life depended upon it. Risk takers and innovators need not apply. And if, by chance, you should succeed, you will be bought-out and-or crushed the moment your head pokes out above the surface waves of salaried mediocrity.

B Corporations are simply a cultural-capital based "advertising gimmick". Its' "product" will be to complete America's transition from an "ownership" society, to a wholly "rental" one, filled with servile employees (not independent owners) who serve at the "pleasure" of the political class who develop and dispense the perverse crony-capital tax incentives that privilege and lure the new B Corporations into the region. If we really want to BENEFIT society, create new jobs and independent citizens, we should get rid of the reduced tax-rate corporate business form 'almost' entirely, not create a new class of socially-responsible charitable organizations. Charity is no substitute for liberty or independence. And socially responsible corporations don't need the liability protections offered through the practice of legal incorporation.

One More Reason NOT to Trust the MSM

from The Federalist
I’m going to tell you a true story, and then tell you how the news media is covering it.

This is a true story: in 2012, Democratic district attorneys in Wisconsin launched a secret probe known as a John Doe investigation with the goal of proving that conservative groups illegally coordinated activities during Gov. Scott Walker’s recall election. They issued more than 100 subpoenas, demanded the private information of conservatives and conservative groups, and actually conducted secret raids. And under state law, individuals who were targeted or witness to the investigation were forbidden from making knowledge of it public.

Fortunately, judges saw right through this partisan abuse of power. Early this year, a state judge, ruling in a secret proceeding, quashed the subpoenas and all but ended the investigation. According to the judge, “the subpoenas do not show probable cause that the moving parties committed any violations of the campaign finance laws.” This started the unraveling of the John Doe investigation that had many conservatives fearing they would be targeted for subpoenas and raids next.

In February, a conservative activist and group filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the partisan district attorneys who had pursued the John Doe probe. In short order, a federal district court judge held that the plaintiffs “are likely to succeed on their claim that the defendants‘ investigation violates their rights under the First Amendment, such that the investigation was commenced and conducted ―without a reasonable expectation of obtaining a valid conviction.” In other words, at this early stage of the civil rights litigation, it looks to the judge as if the Democratic district attorneys abused their power and chilled conservatives’ free speech rights. Accordingly, the federal judge ordered that the John Doe probe must cease, all the seized property be returned, and all copies of materials be destroyed.

After a short trip to a federal appeals court, the federal judge reissued his order that the John Doe probe cease. Most recently, that appeals court has ordered some of the previously secret probe documents disclosed to the public, including an unsuccessful defense that the John Doe investigators made to one of their secret subpoenas. In their attempt to get a subpoena, which was rejected by a judge for lacking probable cause, the partisan investigators claimed that Walker was involved in the so-called conservative conspiracy.

And that is where the litigation stands as of today. Having launched a secret probe that has now been shut down by both the state and federal courts, the Democratic district attorneys find themselves the subject of an ongoing civil rights lawsuit for infringing the First Amendment rights of conservatives. But that is not how the media have reported the case.

Upon the unsealing of some of the probe documents by the federal appeals court, the media worked itself into a frenzy claiming that Walker was part of a criminal conspiracy. The media claim was based entirely on the subpoena document that was denied by the state judge as failing utterly to demonstrate probable cause to believe a crime occurred. In short: the judge, looking at all the evidence, found no reason to believe that a crime had occurred. That has not stopped the media from falsely implying otherwise.

This is largely accomplished by playing with verb tense. For example, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel kicked off this infuriating libel with a piece that claimed, “John Doe prosecutors allege Scott Walker at center of ‘criminal scheme.’” The more accurate word, of course, would have been “alleged,” past-tense with the addition of the words “in denied subpoena request” or perhaps “in failed partisan investigation” or even “in politically-motivated secret investigation rejected by the state and federal courts.”

The New York Times, trumpeting the story on today’s front page, also uses the present tense to give the wrong impression. The piece begins “Prosecutors in Wisconsin assert that Gov. Scott Walker was part of an elaborate effort to illegally coordinate fund-raising and spending.” Again, the true story is that this took place last year and was ended by the courts. You’d have to read all the way down to the tenth paragraph to learn that the subpoenas weren’t granted because there was no probable cause to believe that a crime had occurred. Oddly, the Times piece muses on the electoral consequences for Walker in the third paragraph.

The media obsession with Walker is no coincidence. Liberals are still stinging from their failure to recall him in 2012 after he successfully curtailed union abuses. And they sense that he could be a formidable contender for the White House in 2016. That the John Doe probe simultaneously harms him, suggests widespread wrongdoing by conservatives, and raises the campaign finance bugaboo makes this story the almost-perfect storm. The inconvenient fact that the investigation was cooked up for partisan purposes, has now ceased, and has impelled a federal civil rights lawsuit will go unmentioned in the papers.

Beautiful Harford

Kilgore Falls

Friday, June 13, 2014

Early Voting in Harford County for the 2014 Primary Election!

from the Harford Board of Election
Early Voting
June 12-19, 2014, 10am-8pm

Election Day
June 24, 2014 7am-8pm

Harford County now has 4 Early Voting sites for the 2014 Gubernatorial Election!

The four sites are:

1) McFaul Activity Center
2) Edgewood Library
3) The Heat Center
4) Jarrettsville Library

The McFaul Activity Center, Harford’s Early Voting site, is a unique facility that features programs sponsored by Harford County's Office on Aging, Parks and Recreation, and Boys and Girls Club of Harford County.

Located at 525 W MacPhail Rd in Bel Air, the activity center's programs include arts & crafts, volleyball, aerobics, billiards, board and card games, after school activities, basketball, yoga, computer training, exercise room, etc.

Some if its features include a lounge with a gas fireplace and large flat screen TV, two arts and crafts rooms, a computer center with 8 web-enabled computers, a billiards room with two pool tables and a shuffleboard table and a fitness center with treadmills, weights and other exercise equipment.

The location of the polling place for the activity center will be in the gymnasium, which is large enough to be divided into two rooms. The picture above is where entrance will be.

Office hours for the parks and recreational services are from 8:30am to 4:30pm. The number to the center is 410-638-3528
Edgewood Library is Harford County's second Early Voting site for the upcoming Gubernatorial Election.

Located at 629 Edgewood Road, the polling place will be located in the meeting room portion of the library. The Edgewood Library provides easy access for voters as it is located right off of Rt. 24 and Rt. 40.

The Edgewood Branch Library has been a strong presence in the community since 1962. In 2001, the newly renovated and expanded branch facility opened for business, providing a 16,500 square foot facility. This spacious facility offers drive–up window service, ample access to public computers, and a community meeting room with capacity for 125 people.
The University Center will be Harford County's third Early Voting site for the upcoming Gubernatorial Election in 2014.

The polling place will be in room 130/131 in the West Wing portion of the Conference Center. It is located at 1201 Technology Dr in Aberdeen. Like the Edgewood Library, the University Center provides easy access for voters as it is located at the juncture of Rt. 22 and Interstate 95.

The University Center provides expanded higher education access to the citizens of northeastern Maryland. Baccalaureate and graduate programs are offered by colleges and universities in support of the educational needs of the region.
The Jarretsville Library is Harford County's fourth Early Voting site for the upcoming Gubernatorial Election in 2014.

Located at 3722 Norrisville Rd off of Rt. 23, the polling place will be located in the meeting room section of the facility. Jarrttsville Library is designed in Arts and Crafts style with an expansive, airy interior, achieved by numerous windows allowing for natural light to enter the building. A hierarchy of ceiling heights creates open spaces. The comfortable yet modern facility is a natural fit to its rural community.

Strong Enough Tea?

from Breitbart
The prospect of this opening already has members vying for the position. To date, Reps. Steve Scalise (R-LA), Marlin Stutzman (R-IN), and Peter Roskam (R-IL) have all tossed their hats into the ring for what could soon be McCarthy’s old job.

Scalise, the current chairman of the Republican Study Committee, and Stutzman, who came to office as a tea party candidate in 2010, appear to have more conservative leanings. Roskam is currently chief deputy whip.

But what do the advocates say?

Stutzman boasts the highest ratings from Heritage Action, which monitors lawmakers on key votes to determine how conservative they are. The Indiana lawmaker has an 84 percent rating for this Congress and an 87 percent lifetime rating from HA. Scalise is slightly lower, with an 81 percent rating for this Congress and an 81 percent lifetime rating, and Roskam brings up the rear with 52 percent and 56 percent ratings.

The Club for Growth’s Congressional Scorecard, which looks at lawmakers’ records on what they deem to be “pro-growth” politics, showed a similar line, with Stutzman leading the pack (with a 2013 rating of 91 percent and a lifetime rating of 93 percent), followed by Scalise (rated 84 percent in 2013 and 90 percent lifetime), and finally Roskam (61 percent, 74 percent).

The American Conservative Union has Stutzman and Scalise neck and neck in their relative conservative ratings. In 2013, the ACU gave Stutzman a 96 percent rating and Scalise a 100 percent rating, Stutsman’s lifetime rating howecer is 99 percent, and Scalise’s is 98 percent. Roskam in 2013 received a 76 percent rating and has a lifetime record of 89 percent.

On immigration matters, based on the pro-reduced immigration group Numbers USA, Stutzman and Scalise both have a 92 percent career record. This Congress, however, Scalise has a 62 percent rating and Stutzman has a 75 percent rating. Roskam this Congress has a 57 percent rating but a career 82 percent rating.

In January, when Roll Call took a tally of where lawmakers stood on the House Republicans' immigration principles — which stress enforcement first and include a path to citizenship for certain illegal immigrant children and legalization for non-criminal undocumented immigrants once they meet certain criteria — Stutzman told Roll Call he supported it. Scalise said he did not support it, and Roskam declined to comment.

All three have 100 percent ratings from the National Right to Life Committee, and all have “As” from the National Rifle Association. Scalise, however, has an “A+.”
Do these "oficialista" conservative organizations inspire your confidence in the candidates with their varied ratings? They certainly don't inspire mine.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

YOUR Vote CAN Make a Difference

from the AP
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost in his Republican primary election Tuesday to a little-known economics professor, a stunning upset for the GOP's No. 2 in the House and a major victory for the tea party.

Cantor, viewed as a possible successor to House Speaker John Boehner, was taken down by a political novice with little money named Dave Brat. His win marked the biggest triumph this year for tea party supporters who until a few years ago backed Cantor, a former state legislator who rose to Majority Leader in 2011.

"Obviously we came up short," Cantor told glum supporters at a suburban Richmond hotel, conceding the race with his wife, Diane, at his side.

"Serving you as the 7th District congressman and having the privilege of being the majority leader has been the highest honor of my life," he added.

Jay S. Poole, a Cantor volunteer, said Brat tapped into widespread frustration among voters about the gridlock in Washington and issues such as immigration. "I can't tell you how amazing this is to me," Poole said.

Much of the campaign centered on immigration, where critics on both sides of the debate have recently taken aim at Cantor. Brat has accused him of being a top cheerleader for "amnesty" for immigrants who are living in the U.S. illegally. Cantor has responded forcefully by boasting in mailers of blocking Senate plans "to give illegal aliens amnesty."

It was a change in tone for Cantor, who has repeatedly voiced support for giving citizenship to certain immigrants brought illegally to the country as children. Cantor and House GOP leaders have advocated a step-by-step approach, rather than the comprehensive bill backed by the Senate. They've made no move to bring legislation to a vote and appear increasingly unlikely to act this year.

Brat had been a thorn in Cantor's side throughout the campaign, casting the congressman as a Washington insider who isn't conservative enough. Last month, a feisty crowd of Brat supporters booed Cantor in front of his family at a local party convention.

"If I had my way, I wish everybody in Congress and the Senate would be gone and we would start fresh," said Brat voter Henry Moriconi, 70, of Henrico County, who expressed frustration that Congress has been unable to confront issues such as the federal deficit.

Brat, he said, is "the right person for the job."

Brat's supporters gathered Tuesday night in the lobby of a suburban Richmond office park and cheered as the widely unexpected results began to arrive. Brat made the rounds among a crowd of more than 200 people, shaking hands and giving hugs.

Among those at the party was Floyd Bayne, 57, of Midlothian, who ran against Cantor as an independent in the general election in 2010 and the Republican primary in 2012.

"I think people are starting to pay attention to voting records instead of rhetoric, and I hope I contributed to that," Bayne said. Members of Congress, he said, need to "stop talking the talk and walk the walk."

Tiffs between the GOP's establishment and tea party factions have flared in Virginia since tea party favorite Ken Cuccinelli lost last year's gubernatorial race. Cantor supporters have met with stiff resistance in trying to wrest control of the state party away from tea party enthusiasts, including in the Cantor's home district.

Brat teaches at Randolph-Macon College, a small liberal arts school north of Richmond. He raised just over $200,000 for his campaign, while Cantor spent more than $1 million in April and May alone to try to beat back his challenge.

Washington-based groups also spent heavily in the race. The American Chemistry Council, whose members include many blue chip companies, spent more than $300,000 on TV ads promoting Cantor in the group's only independent expenditure so far this election year. Political arms of the American College of Radiology, the National Rifle Association and the National Association of Realtors also spent money on ads to promote Cantor.

Brat offset the cash disadvantage with endorsements from conservative activists like radio host Laura Ingraham and with help from local tea party activists angry at Cantor.

"Eric Cantor's loss tonight is an apocalyptic moment for the GOP establishment," said ForAmerica Chairman Brent Bozell, a conservative leader who advises several tea party groups. "The grassroots is in revolt and marching."

Last Saturday, Democrats picked Jack Trammell as their nominee for the general election in the 7th District. He is an associate professor of Sociology at Randolph-Macon College, the same school where Brat teaches.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Historic Harford? - Jericho Covered Bridge

from Wikipedia:
The Jericho Covered Bridge is a Burr arch through truss wooden covered bridge near Jerusalem, Harford County and Kingsville, Baltimore County, in Maryland, United States and near historic Jerusalem Mill Village. The bridge was constructed in 1865 across the Little Gunpowder Falls. Renovations were made to the original bridge in 1937 and 1982. This bridge is 88 feet (27 m) long and 14.7 feet (4.5 m) wide and is open to traffic.

The Jericho Covered Bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

There are also rumors the bridge is 'haunted' by the ghosts of civil war soldiers.
...or 'Haunted' Harford? ;)